Nearly 4bn-year-old fossils might be earliest evidence of life on Earth

Nearly 4bn-year-old fossils might be earliest evidence of life on Earth

Straw-shaped microfossils discovered in ancient rocks in Canada could be evidence of some of the earliest life on Earth, a team of researchers led by biogeochemist Matthew Dodd reported.

Dodd, a biogeochemist at University College London, and colleagues said that the tiny, tubular structures or microfossils came from ancient microbes that existed on our planet nearly four billion years ago.

While the age of the specimens remains a matter of debate, most scientists believe that they are 3.77 billion years old, which make them the oldest ever found specimens.

The new research has boosted the belief that microorganisms arose very early in Earth’s history, suggesting their evolution on extraterritorial worlds as well.

Sharing their findings, Dodd said, “The process to kick-start life may not need a significant length of time or special chemistry, but could actually be a relatively simple process to get started. It has big implications for whether life is abundant or not in the universe.”

Scientists described the microfossils in the Thursday (March 2nd) edition of the journal Nature.


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